[source: original author photo]
Moving. Decluttering. Massive spontaneous bookshelf collapse. All are good reasons to consider re-homing some well-loved books. But where should those books go? It’s not like you can summon a magical book dragon to whisk them away to an enchanted library (though, if you have connections like that, tweet us the deets at @quirkbooks). Here are some wonderful ways to share your used books that are fun for you and benefit the community.
Donate to a literacy or literary charity
Donating to a charity is great, especially if you have books on a specific topic or genre. Some excellent organizations are listed below, but don’t forget to ask around your community to learn what places you may be able to drop off books:
Donate to a library
Donating to your local library is an easy choice. Libraries are bastions of local communities and a truly democratic source of learning and study. You can look yours up online to ask if they are currently accepting donations — a much savvier (and appreciated) tactic than leaving a bag of books on their doorstep!
You know that secondhand bookshop you can’t get enough of? The one that you can’t wait to visit? Give them a ring and find out what their policy is for new books! Some shops offer cash or store credit in exchange for books they’ll be able to sell, and most will know exactly what to do with the extras they can’t take off your hands.
Drop by a little free library
Half bird house, half library, Little Free Libraries are cropping up all over the place, so keep an eye out the next time you take a walk in your neighborhood. Drop off your extra books and maybe take home a new one (after all, you can bring it right back when you’re done)!
Think big picture: helpful, communal gathering places often like having books around. Community centers, after school programs, elder care facilities, and faith-based organizations often have reading rooms that are sorely in need of new books. Many especially want up-to-date nonfiction, so get to googling and find a group in your area that might have a lending library in-house.
Host a book swap party
Got book-loving friends? Of course you do! Invite the gang over for a bookswap party to send your beloved tomes off to happy, caring homes. Want to make it extra-special? Turn your bookswap into a blind-date, speed-dating scenario by wrapping your books up and writing a quick description of what you’ll find inside. Don’t get too specific or stay too vague, just enough juicy details to make your friends want to take that new book home.
We mentioned after-school programs above, but what about the schools themselves? Many school libraries are under-resourced, and would love to get a donation, as long as the books are appropriate for their readers. Be sure to call and confirm their needs — they may want to know titles and condition in advance. The easiest way to demonstrate this is to take a few pictures and include a list of titles in an email exchange with school administrators. They may not be able to take much, but whatever they can accept will help new readers. And who doesn’t love that!?
Those are some of our favorites, but what are yours? Where do you like to donate your used books? Let us know at @quirkbooks on Twitter!